Gatineau landlord calls for changes after tenants go 5 months without paying rent

A landlord in western Quebec is calling for reforms to the province's cumbersome eviction process, which has allowed his tenants to live rent-free for the past five months.

Case not unusual, says Quebec's landlord association

Craig Pointon says his tenants have not paid rent since December 2021 and is calling for Quebec's eviction process to be sped up. (CBC )

A Gatineau, Que., landlord is calling for reforms to the province's cumbersome eviction process, which has allowed his tenants to live rent-free the past five months.

"The financial losses [are] very challenging," said Craig Pointon, who took possession of the two-storey home on Rue des Braves-du-Coin at the end of November 2021.

He said his two tenants — who were living in the house before he purchased it — haven't paid rent since December.

"I received a nasty response from the tenant by text message indicating that he was refusing to provide me [with] any type of payment plan and would not be paying any rent," Pointon said.

Three weeks later, he filed for eviction at the Tribunal Administratif du Logement (TAL), the rental board in Quebec. Pointon said he told his tenants directly and notified them by mail, email and text message — but they were a no-show at the Feb. 8 hearing.

CBC reached out to his tenants for comment Saturday, but did not receive a reply by publication time. 

Revocation of judgment

On Feb. 24, the board issued an eviction order. But the day before the eviction was scheduled to take place in March, the tenants filed a revocation of judgment, essentially "forcing a new tribunal date," Pointon said.

Under Quebec law, tenants who have judgments made against them when they aren't present can request they be annulled if there's a valid reason.

This document from Feb. 24 terminates the lease and orders the eviction of Pointon's tenants. The tenants later asked for that decision to be annulled. (

Pointon said he believes it came down to an spelling error of the tenant's name on the hearing's notice.

"I assume their dispute is that it was not the correct person who received the letter," said Pointon. "It was served to them at their address and signed."

The eviction process was put on hold, and another hearing was scheduled for April 8. But the tenants failed to show up again, said Pointon. 

Between the judge's final decision and securing a bailiff, Pointon said it will take an additional two weeks to evict his non-paying tenants. While the initial application to evict was quick, the overall court process takes far too long, he said — allowing tenants to buy more time to live rent-free.

"The tenants are still permitted to continue doing exactly the same thing, and will now have stayed for five or more months in the unit without paying any cent." 

Future tenants suffer 

Martin Messier, the president of Quebec's landlord association, said Pointon's case is very normal, and in rare circumstances court proceedings could take even longer. 

"The problem is when we have a tenant abusing his rights," said Messier. "So for those cases, maybe it should be even faster than it is now." 

But it's not just the landlords that suffer, Messier said: prolonged months of no payments could impact future renters, as the landlord might not be able to afford repairs and upkeep to the building.

The TAL declined an interview with CBC, but in a statement said that "requests for revocation of a decision are processed at the urgent priority level" and the "median time for urgent cases is 1.3 months." 

"It should also be understood that, as with all other tribunals, the enforcement of judgments is not the responsibility of the TAL. Its jurisdiction is exhausted once the judgment is rendered," the board's statement said.

"As a tribunal, the TAL's task is to decide the applications brought before it by applying the rule of law to the facts before it. Any legislative changes are a matter for Parliament."